In the broadest of terms, what are acting techniques?
Acting techniques help you analyze and break down the script. It teaches you to build your foundation, discover your character, your relationship with other characters, immerse yourself in the story and emote through your actions and expressions.
Then what are acting methods?
Many different teachers came up with their method of acting to help actors produce a realistic approach towards acting. This is why you might come across Stanislavski, the first school of thought and then the rest branched off like Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner and Lee Strasberg.
Acting Styles relate to the medium in which you are performing. You will agree that you cannot act in the same way on stage or on a camera. Voice-over acting is different from commercial acting and similarly comedy is different from television drama.
Method Acting is a technique used to make your acting realistic using imaginary characters. Here, an actor relies on their past experiences and memories to create and build a character around them. Method acting was originally developed by Constantin Stanislavski and originally known as ‘THE SYSTEM’. However, three actors in the group, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner and Lee Strasberg couldn’t agree on how to teach this new method of acting technique and soon parted ways, branching off to form their own methods. Using their own interpretation of how this acting technique should be taught.
The question then arises, what is the difference between them all?
Stella Adler is the only one who intensively trained under Stanislavski for five weeks. She doesn’t believe that an actor must ‘draw on the emotions experienced’. She was of the belief that actors should rely upon their imagination and the use of actions to produce a realistic, truthful response, and not their own personal memories.
Taking this to Stanislavski, he agreed and revised his old theories, saying he had abandoned emotional memory work. They both believed that an actor has to understand the character’s culture and values. For e.g.: If a person is playing the role of a cop, he has to do research on that. Stella Adler combined this technique with sense memory exercises, physical characterization of the body and vocal training.
Sanford Meiser was also a student of Stasberg, who also rejected the memory work for acting. According to him, emphasis should be placed on an actor’s response to other people and circumstances, resulting in a specific behavior to produce an emotional, truthful performance without ‘faking it’.
Lee Stasberg took on the mantle of Method Acting that relied on Stanislavki’s beliefs. He encouraged actors to use their own personal memories to remember past experiences in their own life to summon emotions for a character during a scene.
Whichever acting method you choose, you must strive to master it and you can’t go wrong. It will provide such a strong foundation for you that even if you put your acting on the back burner, you can always go back and pick up where you left off.
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